XXIII. Biographical Publications (1885-1992)

Includes autobiographies, correspondence, interviews, and selected reminiscences, tributes, and contemporary biographies.

 A. Autobiographies

1885 Autobiographical Sketches. Reprints from Our Corner. London. Freethought Publishing Co. [New edition: 2009 Carol Hanbery Mackay, ed. Annie Besant: Autobiographical Sketches. Ontario, Canada: Broadview Press. See Posthumous Publications (1933-2014) for further information.]

1891 1875-1891: A Fragment of Autobiography. Lecture of August 30, 1891: Hall of Science, London. Last Freethought Lecture. TPS [Reprinted 1917 as Adyar Library Series, no. 84.]

1893 Annie Besant: An Autobiography. London: T. Fisher Unwin. [Serialized in London's The Weekly Sun, beginning April 23, 1893, as Through Storm to Peace.]

[1895-96 India: Mrs. Besant's Tour. From Theosophist (December 1896-February 1897).]

[1928 Twenty Years’ Work. Compiled and annotated by Basil Hodgson-Smith. Serialized in Theosophist in thirteen installments (June-July, September-December 1928; February-April, June-September 1929). [Covers 1891-1911, using Besant’s own words, as published in Watch-Tower columns and supplemnets to Theosophist. Not published in book form.]

[1933 Dr. Besant’s Occult Life. Edited by C. Jinarajadasa. Serialized in Theosophist in four installments (February-May 1933). Not published in book form.]

1939 Annie Besant: An Autobiography. With an additional survey of her life by George S. Arundale, and biographical notes compiled mainly from her own writings. Deluxe edition. TPH. [Also deluxe ed., limited, numbered, signed by Arundale.]

B. Correspondence

1918 Evolution of Mrs. Besant. Being the Life and Public Activities of Mrs. Annie Besant, Secularist, Socialist, Theosophist and Politician. With Sidelights on the Inner Workings of the Theosophical Society and the Methods by which Mr. Leadbeather Arrived at the Threshold of Divinity. By the Editor of “Justice.” Madras. Justice Printing Works. [Highly critical of Besant and Leadeater; however, contains important exchanges of letters between them.]

1931 Messages: 1913-1931. TPH. [Messages sent to theosophical friends. Reprinted from 1939 Annie Besant: An Autobiography.]

1936 Esther Bright. Old Memories and Letters of Annie Besant. TPH.

C. Interviews

1893 Annie Besant on Theosophy. Interview. New York World: February 26, 1893. Adyar. Manager of The Theosophist. [This version includes a preface by H. S. Olcott and an anonymous article “How Annie Besant Works” from The Weekly Star (March 11, 1893). The interview alone was also published with the following titles: An Exposition of Theosophy (Boston, 1893); Theosophy in Questions and Answers (London, 1893).]

1909 Interview with Mrs. Besant. [No further information. Listed in 1947 Besant Centenary Issue bibliography.]

1924 The Interview. Associated Press. April 26, 1924 [Just before leaving by boat for England]. Madras: Besant Press.

[1931 Edward Holton James. An Interview with Dr. Besant. In Theosophist (March 1931).]

1941 George S. Arundale. Conversations with Dr. Besant, September 20th-October 1st, 1933, on the High Seas between Los Angeles and Suva. TPH.

D. Selected Reminiscences

[1932 Dr. Besant's First Use of Clairvoyance. Letter of August 25, 1895 from Charles W. Leadbeater to Francesca Arundale. Theosophist (October 1932).]

[1933 First Contact of the Lives of the Founders and Annie Besant. Theosophist (November 1933).]

1934 C. P. Ramaswami Aiyer. Dr. Besant as a Comrade and a Leader. TPH. [Adyar Pamphlet Series, no. 186.]

1934 G. S. Arundale. Dr. Besant: Warrior. TPH. [Adyar Pamphlet Series, no. 183.]

1934 Bhagavan Das. Annie Besant, President of the Theosophical Society, and the Changing World. TPH. [Adyar Pamphlet Series, nos. 190-91.]

1938 C. Jinarajadasa. Occult Investigations: A Description of the Work of C. W. Leadbeater and Annie Besant. TPH.

1941 Sri Prakasa. Annie Besant as Woman and as Leader: Reminiscences of Sri Prakasa. TPH. [First ed. contains many notes on persons mentioned that were dropped in second ed. Second ed. (1954; Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan) adds a long introduction bringing up to date the political history of India after Besant’s death. Third ed. (1962; same publisher) adds new foreword with personal updates.] 

1946 W. T. Stead. Mrs. Annie Besant: A Character Sketch. From Review of Reviews (October 1891). TPH. [The link is to the original article in Review of Reviews.]

1947 C. Jinarajadasa. Clairvoyant Investigations by C. W. Leadbeater and the Lives of Alcyone (J. Krishnamurti): Some Facts Described. TPH.

E. Selected Tributes

1924 Annie Besant, D.L. Queen’s Hall Jubilee Demonstration, July 23, 1924. Report of Speeches. Published by Secretary of the Jubilee Demonstration.

1924. D. Graham Pole, ed. Dr. Annie Besant: Fifty Years in Public Work. N.P.

1924 Tributes to Annie Besant, Servant of Humanity, from Representative Indians and Europeans. Besant Press.

1933 K. S. Venkataramani. Dr. Annie Besant: A Tribute. Myalapore, Madras: Svetaranya Ashrama.

1934 Hirendra Nath Datta. Dr. Besant and India’s Religious Revival. TPH. [Adyar Pamphlet Series, no. 182.]

1947 Besant Centenary Issue 1847-1947. Theosophist (October 1947). [Includes A Besant Diary of Principal Events and A List of Books and Pamphlets Written by Annie Besant.]

1947 James Henry Cousins, ed. Annie Besant Centenary Book, 1847-1947. Includes passages from 1893 Biography. Character Sketch of Annie Besant (W. T. Stead). Among the Adepts (AB’s Review of H. B. Blavatsky’s The Secret Doctrine: Pall Mall Gazette, August 25, 1889). The University of India (From Central Hindu College Magazine, 1910). Woman as Mother (article of 1923). TPH.

F. Selected Contemporary Biographies

1908 Anonymous. Mrs. Annie Besant: A Sketch of Her Life and Services to India. Madras: G. A. Nateson. [3rd ed. of 1919 entitled Mrs. Besant: A Sketch of Her Life and Career; 4th ed., post 1921, entitled Dr. Annie Besant: A Sketch of Her Life and Career.]

1909 Claude Fayette Bragdon. A Brief Life of Annie Besant, President of the Theosophical Society. Rochester, NY: Manas Press.

1912 Annie Besant: A Reprint from The Indian Patriot. Theosophist Office. [Account of public addresses welcoming AB back to Madras, with her reply, and a defense against various “slanders” published in The Hindu (related to the case of Krishnamurti’s father against AB’s guardianship of his two sons.]

1913 Susan E. Gay. The Life Work of Mrs. Annie Besant: A Review and Comments. London: Women's Printing Society. [2nd ed. The 1st ed. may have been published in 1897.]

1917 Bipin Chandra Pal. Mrs. Annie Besant: A Psychological Study. Madras: Ganesh.

1927 Geoffrey West [pseudonym of Geoffrey Harry Wells]. Mrs. Annie Besant. London: G. Howe.

1929 Geoffrey West [pseudonym of Geoffrey Harry Wells]. The Life of Annie Besant. London: G. Howe.

[C. E. Bechofer Roberts. The Mysterious Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky: The Life and Work of the Founder of the Theosophical Scoiety, with a Note on Her Successor Annie Besant. New York: Brewer and Warren.]

1931 Gertrude M. Williams. The Passionate Pilgrim: A Life of Annie Besant. London: John Hamilton.

1932 C. Jinarajadasa. A Short Biography of Dr. Annie Besant, President of the Theosophical Society. Pamphlet. TPH.

1934 Theodore Besterman. Mrs. Annie Besant: A Modern Prophet. London: K. Paul, Trench, and Trubner.

G. Selected Posthumous Biographies

1960 Arthur H. Nethercot. The First Five Lives of Annie Besant. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

1963 Arthur H. Nethercot. The Last Four Lives of Annie Besant. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

1986 Rosemary Dinnage. Annie Besant. New York, NY: Penguin.

1988 Olivia Bennet. Annie Besant. London, UK: Hamilton.

1992 Anne Taylor. Annie Besant: A Biography. Oxford, UK: University of Oxford Press.